As reported by The Times Of India, the Directorate General of GST Intelligence has issued a tax demand to Delta Corp, India’s only listed hospitality and gaming firm that owns and manages hotels and casinos, and 3 of its affiliates, which jointly operate casinos in Sikkim and Goa and iGaming platforms, to pay more than Rs 16,800 crore in the name of tax claims. Additionally, the demand is precisely for the period between July 2017 and March 2022.
Highest GST tax claim:
However, this represents the biggest “GST claim“ and comes after a tax demand of Rs 21,000 crore on Gameskraft, which didn’t benefit tax authorities in Bangalore HC. Additionally, after an “appeal” in the Supreme Court and an adjournment, the aforementioned GST officials have taken this step which is the last step before the said company faces a notice. Speaking about this, tax specialists commented: “Such demands are going to be made from other online gaming companies.”
Commenting on the demand, the company in question, aka Delta Corp, commented: “The amount claimed in the DG notice is inter alia based on the gross bet value of all games played at the casinos during the relevant period. Demand of GST on gross bet value, rather than gross gaming revenue, has been an industry issue. The company has been legally advised that the DG notice is arbitrary and contrary to law, and the company will pursue all legal remedies available to it.”
Indian government hits gaming industry with 28% tax:
With the decision already taken to levy a 28% tax on the funds that online gaming, horse racing firms and casinos earn from their clients from each game, with the amendments to Central GST Act already validated, states are projected to make the necessary adjustments for the said changes which could begin from next month.
Commenting on the government’s decision, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “The decision to impose tax on the total amounts gaming companies collect was taken after consultation with states, and the intent was not to hurt the industry.” However, representatives of the iGaming industry seem to disagree with the Minister, saying that “it would sap their earnings and the extra charges were likely to be passed on to customers.”
What’s more, Aaditya Shah, chief operating officer at the gaming app IndiaPlays, added: “The implementation of a 28% tax rate will bring significant challenges to the gaming industry. This higher tax burden will impact companies’ cash flows.” In addition, Roland Landers, CEO of The All India Gaming Federation, said in a statement: “The decision was unconstitutional (and) irrational. It will wipe out the entire Indian gaming industry and lead to lack of job losses and the only people benefiting from this will be anti-national illegal offshore platforms.”